Sunday, April 05, 2009

A grown man goes to nursery school

At five months into her pregnancy, my wife Kara’s nesting instinct has cranked up to such a degree that on several recent occasions, I swear I’ve caught her warbling to herself. She has become so consumed with getting the nursery set up that it’s all I can to do to keep her from dragging sticks and shiny objects into the house.

“This crib got the highest rating on Consumer Reports,” she told me last week, pointing to a picture of a crib that looked exactly like every other crib.

“Perfect! Let’s get that one,” I said.

“You don’t even care,” she replied. Of course I did care, though I also wondered how Consumer Reports could possibly differentiate one crib from another. It must have gone something like this: “Four sides? Check. Room for a baby? Check. Okay, this one’s a winner.”

Kara has been talking with her maternally experienced friend Jen, who sent Kara a list of necessary baby purchases, written in a strange and inscrutable language. Boppy, Bumbo, bouncer, Jumperoo. These words have not previously existed in my universe, and though I’m somewhat curious to translate them into English, I’m afraid that doing so will be very expensive.

The one item on Jen’s list that I recognized was something called a glider. I was impressed by the foresight of adding a flying device to the list, probably to keep the father aeronautically entertained while mother and baby were off partaking in activities for which an adult male presence would be even more useless than usual.

“Oh, yeah, we definitely need one of those,” I said.

“Yeah, we do. A glider is a kind of rocking chair for nursing,” Kara replied, sensing my overabundance of enthusiasm. They really shouldn’t give something so boring such an awesome name.

If you saw us in the parking lot of Babies R’ Expensive, where we spend much of our free time lately, you might think that I’ve become more of a gentleman as Kara’s condition, for which I am admittedly 50% responsible, has progressed. You would see me go to her door first, unlocking it and opening it like Cary Grant opening the door for a maternity-pantsed Ginger Rogers.

The truth is that our passenger-side door lock conked out a couple of weeks ago, no longer responding to the remote control and forcing me to be a gentleman. We need to get that thing fixed, lest I start wearing a top hat and begin regulating my body functions at the dinner table.

Before we realized that the lock was broken, Kara would stand there, yanking on the handle and saying, “Let me in!”

“Dude, you must have been pulling on the handle when I pressed the button. That’s what you get for jumping the gun,” I’d say, yawning and stretching before reaching over to unlock the door. Gun jumpers must spend at least five seconds standing in the penalty parking lot.

Unlocking the door for Kara by hand has brought me back to our college days, when remote controls were only for TVs and it was socially acceptable to own a couch with duct tape wrapped around the cushions.

Penn State created its parking spots to be romantic; exiting a car often required climbing out of your window onto the roof of adjoining vehicles. Back then, Kara and I would both squeeze beside the car, crunching ourselves into a slot that was more size-appropriate for cooking Pop Tarts.

I could tell that Kara was girlfriend material because, once we’d managed to get her into the car, she’d reach over and unlock my door as I walked around. Who would have guessed that in just ten short years, we’d be getting ready to buy our very first Bumbo together? Whatever that is.

You can offer Mike Todd a ride in your glider at


  1. Yeah man, that door unlock is a clincher right there. Anna would do that as well.

  2. I wonder what they use in place of the door test today??

  3. Allen -- Word, man. That's good you didn't let her get away.

    Jen -- With Kara, the new test is to see if she'll help work the emergency brake when we're Tokyo drifting.

  4. We need to get that thing fixed, lest I start wearing a top hat and begin regulating my body functions at the dinner table.

    Thats great

  5. Totally enjoyed reading this one! Babies'r'expensive - true that.

  6. I think that these days it's a test of whether or not she pushes the button to turn on the seat warmer on his side (and gets the heating controls set since he's obviously had the A/C on when it's 10 degrees outside)!